How to open a recessed eyeball light

Updated February 21, 2017

Recessed lights utilising eyeball trim direct light to a specific area of a room or wall. When the light bulb secured inside the recessed light fixture requires replacing, you need to remove the eyeball trim without damaging the trim piece or the surface of the ceiling surrounding the trim. Eyeball trim rings do not use normal screws to connect to the recessed light housing. This makes the process of removing the trim ring less straightforward than it is for other types of home lighting.

Turn off the power to the recessed eyeball light by tripping the breaker in the breaker panel or turning off the light switch --- if you can make sure that nobody will turn on the switch.

Set up a stepladder in a position that allows you to safely reach the light.

Slide the blade of a plastic putty knife between the surface of the ceiling and the edge of the eyeball trim ring. Slide the edge of a flathead screwdriver between the putty knife blade and the edge of the trim ring.

Twist the screwdriver handle to release one side of the trim ring. Move the plastic putty knife and the flathead screwdriver to the other side of the trim ring. Place one hand under the ring before twisting the handle of the flathead screwdriver. Remove the putty knife and screwdriver.

Lower the trim ring from the recessed light can to access the light bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Stepladder
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Flathead screwdriver
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